Cheddar to have 150 new homes?
Developers want to build 150 new homes in Cheddar on a greenfield site between Cheddar Reservoir and the Upper New Road allotments.
But Cheddar Parish Council says it wants a development that can help solve current problems, not add to them.
This was the message members gave to Bloor Homes on Tuesday evening when the development company brought its controversial plans before the council.
The plans could see up houses built on the site next to Sharpham Road playing fields, despite this being outside the development boundaries of the village.
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The plans got a robust response from the parish council on Tuesday evening when Mark Crosby, senior partner at Consensus, who are managing the pre-consultation process for Bloor Homes presented them.
He said: “For some months now Bloor Homes has been working on the technical studies and reports that will guide and inform the preparation of a planning application for 150 new homes on land at Holwell Lane.
“Early consultations have included meetings with representatives from the local organisations such as My Cheddar and the Strawberry Line Society in order to explore a range of development aspirations including sports and leisure provision, highways, connectivity and affordable housing provision.”
Determined questioning from parish councillors followed with chairman Lynn Goodfellow asking for clarification of the number of houses to be built as previous draft plans had included 170 homes and a hotel.
The development would be on two sites, described as the ‘northern’ and ‘southern’ sections.
Sarah Masters, development planner for Bloor Homes, said: “Up to 150 homes will be built, with 50 in the southern section and 100 in the northen section.”
Councillor Christine Brown said: “How much of the development is within the development boundaries?”
Miss Masters replied: “None.”
Councillor Peter Gawthorp asked: “If you are looking to build outside the development boundaries, you must be looking to adhere to the Policy 4 where 40 per cent of houses must be affordable and must be built to meet the need.
“The latest need recorded for affordable housing in Cheddar was 22, which means you are exceeding it. There is no identified need if you are looking for it.”
Planning manager for Bloor Homes, Mike Kerton, said: “If there is no specific need for affordable housing then we can increase the open market houses.”
Mrs Brown then argued: “Then you don’t qualify for the P4 and it’s still outside the development boundaries.”
Mr Gawthorpe posed the question to the company: “Are you aware that you must meet all the requirements of the P4 in order for it to be applicable?”
Mr Kerton replied: “Yes we are.”
“You’re aware that one of those mandatory requirements is our support?” responded Mr Gawthorpe.
The company began to take further battering when discussing access points to the planned location as traffic would be added to the already busy Upper New Road.
Councillor Andy Bosley said: “You are looking at adding 150 cars on to that road at 8am when it is already chockablock at that time.
“We don’t want to look at developments that will add to the problem, not solve it.
“You are going to have to look at that traffic plan as that won’t cut it.”
Miss Masters said: “We appreciate your local knowledge and we have done our research so we know that the average speed there is actually 38mph as opposed to the 30mph limit.
“We are talking about traffic calming methods because we are aware of issues and we are looking into them."
Mr Crosby asked councillors if they thought a deal to provide more sports facilities in the village as a condition of the development should see Sharpham Road Recreation Ground as the main beneficiary.
Prior to the meeting, a scheme was suggested which would include a link to Sharpham Recreation Ground as a potential sports hub.
Mr Crosby said: “In assessing the 106 agreement, is there an aspiration to have more land at Sharpham or should funding go to other things within the village?”
The parish council stressed that it was not yet known how sports clubs at Sharpham Road wanted to proceed at this stage, but a meeting had been arranged for three weeks time where a better understanding would be received.